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Industries at a Glance

Postal Service: NAICS 491

About the Postal Service subsector

The postal service subsector is part of the transportation and warehousing sector.

The Postal Service subsector includes the activities of the National Post Office and its subcontractors operating under a universal service obligation to provide mail services, and using the infrastructure required to fulfill that obligation. These services include delivering letters and small parcels. These articles can be described as those that can be handled by one person without using special equipment. This allows the collection, pick-up, and delivery operations to be done with limited labor costs and minimal equipment. Sorting and transportation activities, where necessary, are generally mechanized. The restriction to small parcels distinguishes these establishments from those in the transportation industries. These establishments may also provide express delivery services using the infrastructure established for provision of basic mail services.

North American Industry Classification System

The postal service subsector consists of a single industry group, Postal Service: NAICS 4911.

Workforce Statistics

This section provides information relating to employment in postal service. These data are obtained from employer or establishment surveys. The following tables present an overview of the industry , data for occupations common to the industry, and projections of occupational employment change.

Employment by Occupation

Data series Employment,

First-line supervisors/managers of transportation and material-moving machine and vehicle operators


Postal service clerks


Postal service mail carriers


Postal service mail sorters, processors, and processing machine operators


Postmasters and mail superintendents


(Source: Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics)


Recent hourly and annual earnings for occupations commonly found in postal service.

Earnings by Occupation

Data series Wages, 2020
Hourly Annual
Median Mean Median Mean

First-line supervisors/managers of transportation and material-moving machine and vehicle operators

32.75 34.54 68,110 71,840

Postal service clerks

24.11 24.62 50,150 51,200

Postal service mail carriers

24.56 25.57 51,080 53,180

Postal service mail sorters, processors, and processing machine operators

25.55 24.74 53,140 51,460

Postmasters and mail superintendents

37.54 38.31 78,070 79,690

(Source: Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics)

Work-related Fatalities

This section presents data for the industry on the number of workplace fatalities in postal service.

Data series 2016 2017 2018 2019


Number of fatalities

14 21 17 21

Blank cells indicate no data reported or data that do not meet publication criteria.

(Source: Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities)


This section provides industry-specific pricing information. The producer price index measures the percentage change in prices that domestic producers receive for goods and services. The prices included in the producer price index are from the first commercial transaction.

Data series Back

Producer price index

(p)238.2 (p)237.4 (p)242.2 (p)242.2

Percent change from previous month

  (p)0.0% (p)-0.3% (p)2.0% (p)0.0%

(p) Preliminary

(Source: Producer Price Indexes)

Workplace Trends

This section presents data on the number of establishments in postal service. Also included in this section is information on productivity, presented as the rate of change in output per hour of workers in the industry.


Data series Back
4th quarter
1st quarter
2nd quarter
3rd quarter

Number of establishments

Federal government

29,168 (p)29,231 (p)29,266 (p)29,308

(p) Preliminary

(Source: Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages)


Data series Back
2017 2018 2019 2020

Labor productivity index, output per hour

84.429 82.869 80.609  

Percent change from previous year

-2.5 -1.8 -2.7  

Labor index, total labor hours

81.793 82.195 82.447 82.526

Percent change from previous year

0.5 0.5 0.3 0.1

Output index

69.056 68.114 66.460  

Percent change from previous year

-1.9 -1.4 -2.4  

Unit labor costs index

116.298 122.607 136.532  

Percent change from previous year

-3.3 5.4 11.4  

(Source: Productivity and Costs)


Data extracted on: May 06, 2021